A look at the transportation facilities for employees of Technopark
From being a sleepy suburb, Technopark is now one of the busiest hubs of the city and pretty well-connected too. There seem to be quite a few options for transportation for the 40,000 plus people who work in Technopark.
Says Abhilash D.C., administrative officer, Technopark: “Individual companies usually take care of the transportation of their employees. A fair number of those who work in Technopark have their own vehicles and some companies do have their own buses and contract cabs, especially larger companies and those that have employees working the night shift. Nonetheless, Technopark itself also provides certain transport facilities.”
Abhilash elaborates that there are KSRTC buses that ply every 20-30 minutes from Technopark to major nodal points across the city and its suburbs. Technopark also runs its own internal bus service, the Technopark Express (popularly known as Tech Express ) that plies on a ring route from the University of Kerala campus, Karyavattom, through Technopark to Kazhakuttam. “It also stops at the Kazhakuttam railway station in time for the arrival/departure of the Parasuram Express,” says Abhilash. This bus begins service at 8 a.m. at Karyavattam and runs continuously inside the 150-acre campus, with stops at all major buildings (timings are listed at the bus stops).
“For myself and other women techies who live in the many private hostel facilities near Technopark, the Tech Express is our favoured mode of transportation, especially because it’s relatively cheap,” says Divya S.T. from Thrissur who has been working in a multi-national company (MNC) at Technopark for the past couple of years. Nowadays, many large companies that have offices in multiple buildings on the campus, provide their own internal cab services too. Additionally, there are pre-paid autos from both gates of the campus and an on-call cab facility. “I would say that transportation facilities at Technopark are adequate,” opines techie Biju Sundaram, who has been working the night shift for a multinational corporation for the past four years.
The issue, however, say the techies, is that all modes of public transport usually wind up by about 8.45 p.m. “The last Tech Express is at 6 p.m.,” says Divya. And if you’re late? “You walk to the hostel, braving, among others, Hymavathy, Technopark’s resident ghost! Or you hitch a ride with colleagues who have transportation,” she adds with a laugh.
Renjith C., who works the night shift at Triassic Solutions, says: “The last KSRTC bus is at 8.45 p.m. Afterwards, especially if you are on the night shift, you are stuck unless your company provides transportation or you have your own vehicle. In such an instance if you miss the bus, you would end up having to call for an auto or walk all the way to Kazhakuttam, which is not really safe especially if you are alone. And even catching a bus from Kazhakuttam is not a really an option, especially between midnight and 5 a.m. Even if there are buses, they are few and far between and moreover, few of them stop at the bus stop to take in passengers.” Renjith has “wised up to the situation” and now travels by motorcycle. “My shift is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. so I have to depend on my own transportation. One of my colleagues finishes his shift at 2 a.m. and because he has no vehicle, he usually waits to hitch a ride with me,” adds Renjith.
Most companies, especially the larger ones, that do have employees on night shift arrange for cabs. Says Ansu Cherian, a techie at Aptara Learning, who is currently posted on the night shift: “My shift ends by 10.30 p.m. or sometimes 11 p.m. and afterwards I always take the company cab home. In fact, I travel to and from office by company cab, for which I pay a nominal amount a month.”
In the wake of the brutal rape that took place in Delhi last month and heightened concerns about safety, Technopark appears to have taken certain precautionary measures.
“We’ve installed lights in certain areas of the campus that did not have adequate lighting and security cameras too. Patrolling has been intensified, especially after 10 p.m., in and around the hostels. Also during hartal days, Technopark arranges for convoy of vehicles from various parts of the city. On those days, most companies allow employees of other companies to travel in their buses if they produce their ID card,” says Abhilash.
Adds Ansu: “Even before the Delhi incident, there were certain precautionary measures in place. For instance, those of us travelling in cabs are briefed well in advance as to which cab and which driver will be in service during the week. Also, if at the time you travel, you don’t feel comfortable with the cab driver you can request one of the security men to accompany you. And we’re constantly asked for feedback on every aspect of the cab services.”